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Regional News

March 04, 2004
Suriname will demand GDF removal from New River Triangle
Stabroek News

Suriname will demand that Guyana removes its military presence in the New River Triangle, as it had agreed to do under the provisions of a 1969 agreement.

The demand, according to a report in the Surinamese daily, De Ware Tijd (DWT), is to form part of the Surinamese government's response to Guyana 's notice that it was moving to the International Tribunal of the Law of Sea, based in Hamburg , Germany . Guyana is seeking to have the Tribunal settle the maritime border between the two countries in the disputed maritime area off shore the Corentyne coast that both countries claim.

Guyana said it has done so having exhausted all possibilities of settling the matter bilaterally and blamed Suriname for frustrating its efforts. The DWT report quotes Surinamese Foreign Minister Marie Levens as saying that the Surinamese government "will act quickly and is busy getting everything in order for the correct counter actions."

The Treaty of Chaguaramas provides that there should be no military presence in the New River Triangle.

It was signed after the Guyana Defence Force repulsed an attempt by the Surinamese military to set up a camp in the area in 1969. The incident has rankled in the psyche of the Surinamese people since then. And the forced eviction of an American-owned oil rig, being operated by Canadian company, CGX Energy, from its drilling position in Guyana 's exclusive economic zone by Surinamese gunboats was believed to be retaliation for the humiliation felt over the years.

Suriname claims the New River Triangle as its territory and has been issuing maps, which incorporate the area as Surinamese territory. As recently as last year it had circulated these maps to the diplomatic community with a note which said the map should be recognised as the official map of Suriname . Guyana protested and pointed out to the Suriname government that its internationally accepted and recognised borders remain unchanged.

Guyana has steadfastly rejected Suriname 's claim to the New River Triangle and refused to entertain Suriname's attempts to link its claim to the maritime border dispute.

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